My mom has never owned a pad of paper. To make a list or pen a note, she generally writes on an envelope. During my elementary school years she would often use my lunchbox napkin to write this simple message: “Love You, Claudine. Love, Mom.”
I cherished these notes!
My mother has a knack for making children feel good; somehow, kids sense that my mom believes they are good. Once while I was shopping with my mom, we heard another shopper yelling at her child, calling the toddler a “bad girl.” My mother brought me to another area of the store and tenderly told me that no one should use the word “bad” when referring to a child, making it clear to me that although kids may at times behave poorly, there is a difference between what someone does and who someone is.
Even when I made mistakes as a child, I always knew my mom believed I was intrinsically good. Her love for me was consistent, and I always felt good in her presence.
This is especially amazing since my maternal grandmother was abusive towards my mom. When her mother would call her cruel names, my mom told herself that she would treat her future children with kindness and love.
My mom is a transition person. She was able to give me what she never had herself. As she nurtured me, she was able to nurture her own heart as well as mine. And we both found what we needed: a loving mother-daughter relationship.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger has told women “you get two chances at the mother/child relationship. One is the one you are born in to. You have no control over that. The other is the one you give birth to; you have ALL the control over that one.” In other words, our children’s childhood does not have to be the same as the one we had. The loving mother we choose to become can be a gift to ourselves as well as our children.
Though parenting can often feel overwhelming, the hopes of children are fairly simple. April Perry of Power of Moms asks:
Can we remind each other that it is our uniqueness and love that our children long for? It is our voices. Our smiles. Our jiggly tummies. Of course we want to learn, improve, exercise, cook better, make our homes lovelier, and provide beautiful experiences for our children, but at the end of the day, our children don’t want a discouraged, stressed-out mom who is wishing she were someone else. Motherhood Realized: An Inspiring Anthology for the Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love
Our children want a mom that longs to be with them, the kind of mom that uses a paper napkin (or whatever is handy) to say “Love You!” to her child.
Children everywhere yearn to feel a mother’s love. It is my hope that on Mother’s Day this year, all women will be able to feel this love by receiving it, by giving it, or both.